Dolphins QB Matt Moore had fun in comeback win over Jets
Lots and lots of Dolphins notes on a Monday:
• Colleague Armando Salguero reports the Dolphins intend to reinsert Jay Cutler back in the lineup after his reportedly broken ribs heal in the coming weeks unless Matt Moore plays like the profoundly great 1984 version of Dan Marino.
My question: Why does Moore need to play at a record-setting level to keep this job? If the Dolphins win and he plays well, shouldn’t that be enough?
Let’s compare their regular-season body of work with the Dolphins under Gase:
1) With Moore at quarterback during the Gase regime, the Dolphins have scored 104 points in 15 1/2 quarters since Gase took over. That’s 6.7 points per quarter.
With Cutler at quarterback, the Dolphins have scored 75 points in 22 1/2 quarters. That’s 3.3 points per quarter.
2) Moore has 10 touchdown passes and three interceptions playing for Gase.
Cutler has seven TDs and five picks playing for Gase in Miami.
3) Moore’s passer rating under Gase is 105. Cutler’s is 78.7.
4) Cutler has played seven more regular-season quarters under Gase in Miami and yet has only 86 more passing yards.
Yes, Cutler had started to play more effectively the past four quarters before his injury. And yes, the Dolphins believe Cutler is clearly the better quarterback.
But this team clearly responds better to Moore than to Cutler. Moore gets the ball out more quickly and there’s clearly a higher energy level with Moore under center.
And that’s why Gase should have a completely open mind about who starts when Cutler is healed.
• We’re told that some network people were informed in the past 16 hours that the NFL plans to stick with Dolphins-Raiders in prime time on NBC on Nov. 5 barring an unexpected change of heart by Tuesday’s deadline. That game could have been flexed out.
It will be the Dolphins’ second game on NBC’s marquee Sunday night package since NBC acquired those games in 2006.
• If Moore plays well during Cutler’s absence, imagine what home games will be like if Gase reinserts Cutler. I would expect considerable booing after every poor throw from Cutler and every three and out. That would give Miami a genuine home field disadavantage.
• Let’s not overlook what the defense has done in the second half of games in this three game winning streak. Miami has allowed less than 110 yards in each of those games and a total of 14 points. Excellent work.
• Some notable offensive snap counts Sunday: Rey Maualuga, by lining up at fullback for one play, actually played more snaps than Kenyan Drake, who had zero. Damien Williams had 22 snaps behind Jay Ajayi, who had 51... At tight end, Anthony Fasano again played more than Julius Thomas (45 to 39 snaps), but both contributed... Jesse Davis played 33 snaps at left tackle in relief of Laremy Tunsil, who logged 41 before his knee injury... Leonte Carroo got 50 snaps as the No. 3 receiver, Jakeem Grant eight.
• Some notable defensive snap counts: With Andre Branch leaving in the second half with an injury, Charles Harris had the most snaps of the ends - 34, compared with 32 for Cam Wake, 27 for William Hayes, 18 for Branch and seven for Terrence Fede... Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons played every snap at linebacker, and Maualuga had 24 impactful snaps... Jordan Phillips played 30 snaps and Davon Godchaux 24 behind Ndamukong Suh’s 53.
• The Dolphins have now won 13 of their past 17 regular season games. Their 13-4 mark in their past 17 games is tied for the second-best record in the NFL behind New England (14-3) and tied with Kansas City (13-4).
The last time Miami won 13 of 17 regular season games was from Oct. 28, 2001 to Oct. 13, 2002.
• Before Cutler and Moore each threw two TDs on Sunday, the last time the Dolphins had two different quarterbacks throw at least two touchdowns each in a game was Scott Mitchell (2) and Steve DeBerg (2) against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 19, 1993.
• Miami overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win the game after coming back from a 17-point halftime deficit to win last week at Atlanta. The last time the Dolphins won consecutive games trailing by 14-plus points in a second half was a three-game streak from Sept. 14-28, 1980.
• For perspective on how unusual Miami’s 14-point comeback was from a Jets perspective, consider this from Elias:
“It marked just the second time in the Jets’ 58-year history that they lost a road game in which they led by 14-or-more points in the fourth quarter. The Jets’ only other loss of that type came just over 50 years ago, in the 1967 season opener at Buffalo. Joe Namath and Co. took a 17-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but Jack Kemp threw a pair of touchdown passes to Art Powell and Mike Mercer kicked two field goals to give the Bills a 20-17 victory. Until Sunday’s loss in South Florida, the Jets had won the last 69 road games in which they held a fourth-quarter advantage of 14-or-more points.
“The Jets had won their last 95 games in which they led by eight or more points at any time in the fourth quarter. That had been the second-longest winning streak of its kind in NFL history; the Packers won 101 consecutive games with a lead of that size from 1921 to 1939.
“Prior to Sunday, New York’s last loss in a game with a fourth-quarter lead of eight or more points came against Jon Gruden’s Raiders in Week 7 of the 1999 season. The Jets entered the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead, but Oakland scored a pair of touchdowns in the final period to seal a one-point win.”
• With 2 1/2 sacks Sunday, Cam Wake is now the NFL’s leader in sacks (87.5) since he entered the league in 2009.
Wake ranks No. 2 in team history with 87.5 career sacks and trails Jason Taylor by just five (92.5) for the most in a player’s first nine seasons with the Dolphins. His 87.5 career sacks are second-most all-time by an undrafted player in the NFL (excludes Supplemental Draft picks)
With Sunday’s TD catch, Anthony Fasano surpassed Jim Mandich and moved into second place for TD receptions by a Dolphins tight end, with 24, one away from the all-time leader, Bruce Hardy.